Anybody that knows me, knows that I am quite partial to a nice paintbrush….
About a month ago, I was fortunate enough to receive a Lucas Protools ProFinish Paintbrush as a gift from a good friend (thank you very much, you know who you are!). First impressions; the presentation is quite exceptional; a beautifully crafted boxset with vastly contrasting brilliant orange and white packaging… builds anticipation a treat!
Open the lid, and you are faced with orange drafting film with the legend “From our hands to yours”, underneath lies the whole point of the story so far, the brush itself – oh yeah, and a ProGuard brush keeper, a Filament Wrap a ProComb, a small Care Guide and a Lucas Protools business card/sticker, all held in place in white shaped high density foam… I’m sucker for quality Marketing and Design, it’s delivered in spades with this packaging.
So, on to the main event – the brush… if you feel that you need any further seduction, please feel free to follow these links. The first is a piece to camera by Danny Lucas (CEO & MD) and the second a promotional video that shows how the brush is manufactured…
A good friend of mine, that resides Stateside, is renown for walking around with a new brush in his hand “dry” for days before even thinking about introducing it to paint – if it’s good enough for “Jack“, it’s good enough for me! So, thats what I’m going to do with the Profinish… this article is going to be dry only.
With the Profinish firmly in my sweaty paw, the build quality really is apparent. My personal gripe with brush manufacture over the years has been with the ferrule (often the cheapest component), not so with the ProFinish; it’s constructed from Satin Anodised Aluminium… it’s seamless and displays the Lucas Protools logo and the unique identification serial number on the side, which allows for future identification by Lucas (for repair etc.). Incidentally, it’s also very slight oval in cross-section.
The ferrule is flush mounted onto an ergonomically designed Beech wood handle that has been finished in Danish Oil. Your hand can travel seamlessly along the length of the brush and feel only the very slightest joint between metal and wood; NICE!
On the back of the ferrule are two “nipples” that are placed for the Filment Wrap and the ProGuard to be located – the Filament Wrap still moves around quite a bit, bit they are nice touch.
Now that I’ve mentioned the ProGuard, I’ll talk a little more about it; a plastic sleeve that protects the brush filaments from damage and misshape. It carries the Lucas Logo and is hinged on the side – it snaps together to lock the sleeve around the brush… it’s a great fit!
Additionally, in the set is a rather posh ProComb, brush comb, designed with its own keeper for protection – vey ergonomic and makes a good addition.
…and so onto the “business end” of the brush the filament;
In the ProFinish brochure it’s described thus; “Made from 100% DuPont Chinex filament developed to provide the traditional quality expected from natural hogs hair, however being synthetic, the filament is faster and easier to clean. Chinex provides a longer brush life, as the abrasion resistance of Chinex is 7 times that of natural bristle and retains a superior shape and stiffness due to lower moisture absorption.” they go on further; “ProFinish has a smooth painting edge, which leaves brush marks almost too small to see providing the ultimate brush finish… filaments have been expertly mixed to varying lengths and weights following rigorous testing with tapered, tipped and flagged ends”…
Now, remembering that this is a dry test only, the filaments are where I would criticise the brush. Firstly, and this is only my opinion, the “epoxy” seems to be set too high, meaning that paint will naturally build very quickly around the base of the filaments making it extremely rigid after prolonged use – I’m sure that you will say that in that case you need to clean the brush properly after each use… you are given the kit to do so… But, even with the most carefully structured cleaning regime, material (paint) will still remain at the centre of the brush.
The filament selection itself, is where I’m disappointed – Chinex, I find too harsh for the way that I personally work and the paints that I use… in the small print the ProFinish is not recommended for use with Solvent based paint or acrylics!?!?!
The style of the brush is that of a straight bevel cut, the cut is quite good – I know myself how difficult this is to achieve, from my own development of the FOX brush range.
In the hand the brush has a good balance – dry – and is extremely comfortable, the handle is hand crafted from high quality FSC certified timber and is well finished. Currently, as far as I am aware the brush is only available as a 2″ model, I look forward to seeing further additions to the range in the future.
I really could go on and on about the cut, the rigidity of the filament the “nature” of the filament type, the length of filament etc.,… but, I’m going to keep all of that back for when the brush is used “in anger”; in paint!
To form a conclusion, I have to say that I was knocked out by the whole presentation of the set; the feeling of opening the box and seeing a set of well crafted items for the first time was amazing; Christmas had definitely come early! No criticism can be made of the build quality itself (other than what I mentioned above), it’s just the filament selection – at this point in my test – that I have issue. Hopefully, once I dip it in paint I am pleasantly surprised!?!? Two last points; It’s British Made!!! Oh yeah and it costs £59.99!!! (for the whole presentation box – what a single brush would cost, I don’t know).
For further information about my work and how I go about it, please visit my website;
Martin Guest, Traditional Painter for the West Midlands.